Who is given immunity in court to plead the fifth? 51 Answers as of August 24, 2011

Who is given immunity in court to plead the fifth?

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
I'm not sure what you mean. Immunity and invoking your 5th Amendment privileges are two different things. Immunity is given by prosecutors which means that your testimony cannot be used against you to bring criminal charges against yourself. If it is offered then you must take it. Invoking the 5th Amendment right against self incrimination applies to anyone accused of a crime or who could possibly be implemented in a crime due to a particular line of questioning. If you feel that your testimony in court could incriminate yourself, you can invoked your 5th Amendment rights. I would advise consulting with a lawyer first.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
Law Office of Andrew Subin
Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
Immunity is given by the prosecutor, usually in exchange for information about a crime. The 5th amendment is available to any citizen. It states that you have the right to remain silent (you cant be forced to testify if that testimony will get you in criminal trouble.)
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/15/2011
Law Office of Sara Sencer McArdle
Law Office of Sara Sencer McArdle | Sara Sencer McArdle
Anyone who might be charged with a crime for answering the question unless they are given immunity.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 8/15/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
You can take the Fifth anytime you might be charged with a crime. You cannot be forced to admit to a crime. You can refuse to testify unless the prosecutor grants you immunity from prosecution. In that event you must answer the question or you will be charged with contempt of court and be held in jail until you agree to answer the questions.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/15/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
Only a person who is asked questions which could implicate him in a criminal act can use the 5th amendment as a right not to answer questions. If the questions do not put you in jeopardy of being charged with a crime, you cannot use the 5th amendment.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 8/11/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    Your question is too vague and it appears that you are mixing up two different concepts. Immunity generally means that the prosecutor will not prosecute someone in excvhange for their testimony ( usually about some other crime- this is generally known as being a cooperating witness to help the police convict someone else ). Taking the fifth means you are refusing to testify on the grounds that ding so will tend to incriminate yourself in a crime. Sometimes the two can apply to the same person and sometimes they are totally different.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Advanced Litigation Services
    Advanced Litigation Services | Joseph Iarussi
    Any one can plead the fifth if the believe the answer to a question might incriminate them.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Any person who may incriminate themselves in a criminal offense by providing testimony may invoke the fifth amendment. The fifth amendment provides protections which prevent individuals from being compelled to act as witnesses against themselves. This is the right to remin silent that appears in Miranda warnings.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    The 5th Amendment is one of the most misunderstood legal doctrines by lay people. Essentially the 5th requires that a person have criminal liability in order to assert their right to remain silent. This means that if testimony would implicate you then you can assert the right to remain silent. In NH the judge is required to have a Richard's hearing prior to the assertion of the 5th. It is very common that witnesses need an attorney to represent them in a court matter to protect and assert their rights. Most criminal defense lawyers will be happy to speak with you about a witness problem for no charge. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Brucar & Yetter, P.C.
    Brucar & Yetter, P.C. | Wayne Brucar
    They are two different things. Immunity means the State will not prosecute you based on what you say in court. Pleading the Fifth means you refuse to answer questions in court as the answers may lead to criminal liability. Please understand that answering this doesn't create an attorney/client relationship between us, and as hard as I try to answer your question well, it isn't legal advice. No matter how much information you put into a question, the answers you are going to get are still going to be vague. It is in your interest to contact a lawyer, most of whom will do a free consultation. Even 15 minutes with a lawyer is going to produce a more specific answer to your problem.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recommend that you consult with a criminal lawyer about all your rights and that you discuss the different types of immunity, and all your options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    You can plead the fifth when there is potential for you being placed in custody based upon those statements.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    If a person pleads the Fifth this means that they are invoking their right to remain silent. If a person is granted immunity it means that they are not to be charged nor can the testimony be used against them in a court of law. If a person is granted immunity they can be compelled to testify and are precluded from asserting their Fifth amendment rights.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton | Cindy Barton
    Under the US Constitution no one can be compelled to testify against themselves.When someone is under oath in a courtroom and is asked a question that they cannot answer without testifying that they have committed a crime and they say "I cannot answer on grounds that the answer may incriminate me" , it is called taking the 5th.This does not mean that the person testifying is given immunity.All other evidence that has been collected and presented would usually come in, but you do not have to testify against yourself.If you are on trial in a criminal case, the judge will tell the jury that you have an absolute right not to testify and that should not be considered an admission of guilt.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    These are two separate terms that are unique but can be used together to compel testimony. The 5th refers to the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides every citizen the right to not incriminate one's self. Therefore, if someone is on the witness stand and has pledged to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, they can refuse to answer any question to which the answer would be self incriminating. Immunity is something that must be granted. It is often used as a tool to avoid the use of the Fifth. If a person is granted immunity from prosecution, their answers are no longer considered incriminating, due to the immunity from prosecution, and therefore they can be compelled to answer the questions that would otherwise be protected by the Fifth.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    If you are the defendant you can not be forced to testify against yourself under the 5th amendment. If you are a witness and have committed a crime you can not be forced to testify about your actions.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    The Fifth Amendment protects a person from having to testify against him/her self. Any person who's testimony could implicate them in criminal activity could invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    When you testify in court you can "plead the fifth" amendment, that is you can refuse to testify about something if you will end up incriminating yourself. The prosecutor can agree to grant you immunity such that anything you say on the witness stand cannot be used against you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    Every American citizen has a fifth amendment right to refuse to answer questions the answer to which might be incriminating. If the prosecutor or questioner can show that there is no way that any answer to the question asked could possibly incriminate the person being questioned, then a Judge might Order that person to answer the question. In some cases, a prosecutor might offer a person a form of "use immunity" in order to get the answer out of the person, but this is very tricky ground and I would warn you to be very careful It might be a good idea to have legal representation if you are in this situation or might be faced with this problem.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Anyone.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    A person is not given immunity to plead the 5th. A person may claim the 5th amendment of the U.S. Constitution over a concern that his/her answer may subject him/her to criminal prosecution. Immunity can be given, at the DA's discretion (if the DA chooses to do so) to remove the threat of prosecution for something a person says that may expose him/her to criminal liability.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    NO ONE is given immunity to plead the fifth. A person may be given immunity IF they plead the fifth and the prosecutor needs that person's testimony. To plead the fifth means to refuse to testify because it may incriminate oneself.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    No one. Immunity is granted by prosecutors to get people to testify. 5th Amendment can be asserted by anyone choosing not to testify if it could incriminate them.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    No one gets "immunity" by asserting their Fifth Amendment right unless the prosecutor grants it or you are testifying before a Grand Jury.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Generally, witnesses who have committed an offense for which they may be charged can plead the Fifth amendment so as not to incriminate themselves. However, if granted immunity by the prosecution, they my be forced to testify. Of course, a criminal defendant may opt not to testify at any time.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    People that the prosecutor needs to testify against others: "snitches"
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    If you are given immunity, you cannot take the 5th amendment for those subjects covered by the immunity agreement. If you are not given immunity, anyone can take the 5th amendment if their testimony could result in self-incrimination.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    Immunity and asserting your 5th amendment privilege are two different things. If you wish to have immunity for your testimony then your attorney must make prior arrangements with the prosecuting authority before you testify. Asserting your 5th amendment privilege, or "taking the 5th, is when the answer to a question may incriminate you in a crime. You do not have to have an open case against you to assert your 5th amendment privilege. You should consult with an attorney to ensure that you have a 5th amendment right at all. If you do not have an attorney, you must hire one immediately, if you do not have the funds for an attorney simply ask for one in Court and one should be appointed to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    No one is given immunity. A person who pleads the 5th does so because what he or she may testify to may result is criminal charges being brought against the person testifying. A person pleads the 5th because he/she cannot be forced to testify against his/herself. If the person's testimony is crucial to a prosecutor in its case against another person, and the testimony of the person (taking the 5th) is crucial to the prosecutor proving their case, the prosecutor may offer the person immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Thank you for your inquiry Your question is confusing. The 5th amendment is the right against being compelled to testify against yourself. In other words, a confession or admissions cannot be compelled. Our Supreme Court has held that it is coercive to question someone while in custody without giving them miranda rights. If this is done, then a confession can be excluded from evidence. The 5th amendment can be asserted at trial if a person is asked questions that may incriminate themselves, or a statement is offered at trial in violation of miranda. Immunity is the possible response to an assertion of the 5th amendment. The best way to explain is by an example. If a witness is called to testify against a defendant, and the statements the witness may make about the defendant will possibly incriminate the witness, then the witness could assert the 5th amendment and refuse to testify. However, the prosecutor can offer immunity to the testifying witness. This offer of immunity will protect the witness from being proseuted for the statements the witness may make about the defendant while being questioned at trial. In this way, a witness can be compelled to testify over their assertion of the 5th amendment right against self-incrimination. Therefore, a person is not "given immunity to plead the 5th." Instead, a person may assert their 5th amendment privilege to not testify against themselves by making admissions or incriminating statements. The prosecutor can offer immunity to the witness, in which case, there is nolonger a sustainable 5th amendment objection to questions based on the grounds that the testimiony may incriminate them. The witness cannot refuse to answer questions. The witness must answer questions or possibly be held in contempt. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
    Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
    This decision rests solely with the State's Attorneys office that is requiring the testimony. If you are given immunity, you have no fifth amendment right not to testify, because you will *not* incriminate yourself. If you are compelled to testify in any matter, and your testimony may incriminate you, you can always invoke your fifth amendment privilege against self incrimination. The granting of immunity removes any possibility of self incrimination.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Someone being called as a witness against another person, whose testimony could incriminate the witness in illegal activity.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    Immunity from prosecution is something which is normally granted by a prosecutor and should be in writing. You must hire a lawyer to insure that you actually do enjoy such immunity.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Anybody can "plead the Fifth," i.e., assert the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, if testifying might require incriminating answers. The prosecution can give immunity, which is a promise not to prosecute. Immunity means that testimony cannot be incriminating, and thus it destroys the Fifth Amendment privilege against testifying. Immunity is given to whomever the prosecutor wants, and occasionally at the judge's or defense's behest.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    No one is given immunity to plead the 5th. If testimony would incriminate a person - implicate them in a crime - then they can take the 5th as long as they take it consistently and do not waive it. The State (or federal government in a federal case) - the prosecutors must agree to give a person immunity in order to compel their testimony. If they agree that anything that the witness says will not be used against them, then the witness must testify. This does not mean that the person cannot be prosecuted - only that their own words and any evidence derived as a result of their words cannot be used to prosecute them.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    That all depends on what kind of deal the person works out with the prosecutor. The immunity agreement should be in writing and the person given the immunity should have a lawyer review the agreement before it is signed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    A witness who is offered this deal by the prosecutor.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    The 5th amendment claim is to avoid the possibility of criminal action against yourself by your own testimony. Every person who is required to testify can claim the fifth amendment to the Constitution if the testimony could be used against you later. For example, if you are in a car accident case, and the person asks you if you were using illegal drugs, you could claim the 5th. Immunity is when the state then says that to avoid you taking the 5th, they will give you immunity against the testimony elicited. But there are numerous types of immunity, so you need an attorney for sure, if you are in that situation, because in many cases the direct testimony cannot be used but derived testimony or evidence can be.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    If a person is about to give testimony that would tend to incriminate them, they can assert their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The prosecution can choose to grant immunity where anything they say can't be used against them. If that is granted, the person's Fifth Amendment issue goes away and they could be compelled to testify.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    This is given by the DA if they need the testimony. There are at least 2 types of immunity and it does not necessarily mean that you will not be prosecuted, usually just that they cannot use your testimony against you. The court will often appoint an attorney if you are offered immunity, if you ask.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C.
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C. | Loren Dickstein
    There is no answer to your question. No particular catagory of person is given immunity as a rule. Every case is different. If you are charged with a crime, being compelled to be a witness or if you are being investigated, you need to consult with a criminal defense attorney right away.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Immunity is generally given by the prosecution to a witness in order to get them to testify. Immunity (use and transactional use) keeps a party(witness) who may be guilty of a crime from being charged or convicted based upon information they provide.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Offices of Sean Logue
    Law Offices of Sean Logue | Sean Logue
    You need to be told that you are getting immunity by a judge before waiving that right.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    Anyone who has a right against self-incrimination can "plead the 5th." This means if testifying in court could subject you to potential criminal charges, you can refuse to testify as a way of protecting your right to remain silent. You may not stand behind the 5th Amendment simply because you don't want to testify or you don't want to commit perjury.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    In any proceeding where a witness might expose him or herself to criminal liability they may plead their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Law Office of Thomas J. Ogas
    Law Office of Thomas J. Ogas | Thomas Ogas
    The question is wrong. A witness can plead the fifth (tell the court he wishes to remain silent) when asked questions which might possibly incriminate him. If a witness does this, the prosecutor can then offer the witness immunity, so that the answers cannot incriminate him. If the prosecutor does this, then the witness can no longer plead the fifth since the answers can no longer be used against him, and then the witness must answer questions. Your right to remain silent only applies to situations where the answers could possibly be used against you. Once that is no longer possible, your right to silence no longer applies. Long story short: If you do not want to testify, the only way is to truly refuse to testify, which is to be in contempt of court, which could result in you staying in jail until you decide to testify, or until the case is over.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    Any party or witness can plead the fifth. There are some exceptions such as if there is no longer any criminal exposure and there can be consequences to taking the fifth - if a party pleads the fifth, the court will issue an adverse inference which allows the jury to assume (if it chooses to) that the answer would have been bad for the person who plead the fifth. If the questions are posed correctly, taking the fifth can be devastating for a case. If a witness takes the fifth, depending on what the questioning was about, the court can strike the entire testimony.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/8/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    The decision whehter to grant immunity to a witness from criminal prosecution rests with the prosecutor.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/8/2011
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